Does Congress have able leaders to succeed Manmohan as PM?

By: Biswajeet Panda
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Bangalore, Jul 6: In the unlikeliest of events, when Dr Manmohan Singh decides to quit his position as the Prime Minister of India, is there anyone actually ready to assume the mantle. Let us leave BJP out of the equation (there will be another feature on their possible candidates) as an election seems highly unlikely, and focus on the leaders we have in the ruling coalition.

Sonia Gandhi:

It seems unlikely that the Congress President will be willing to accept the coveted post that she so famously relented to in 2004. While the BJP and other Opposition parties may try to take credit for not letting her become the Prime Minister, the truth it seems is that the Congress President was actually unwilling to assume the post.

And given the strong decision maker that she is, it is highly unlikely that she will go back on her words and assume Prime Ministerial responsibilities.

Pranab Mukherjee:

The senior-most leader in the UPA cabinet has for long been referred to as the ultimate trouble-shooter who has a panacea for every trouble that have afflicted the party and the government. The fact that Manmohan Singh was preferred instead of him for the Prime Minister's job means that he is still in contention, unless his party thinks that his age is an deterrent.

A seasoned politician, Pranab Mukherjee has got everything right to juxtapose his name as a possible candidate, but in that process the Congress party would not want to thrust on country another veteran politician as the Prime Minister.

P Chidambaram:

Probably members of the Congress party would be the first to downplay any suggestion of making Chidambaram the Prime Minister of the country. The Union Home Minister is infamously referred to as being 'intellectually arrogant' and despite doing a commendable job in his current ministry, he is still far from the kind of public adoration required to become the Prime Minister of world's largest democracy.

Rahul Gandhi:

The young Gandhi scion is widely tipped as Congress' future Prime Ministerial candidate and the question is when. As it seems to appear that he himself is reluctant to shoulder any governmental responsibility, so in the unlikeliest of event when Manmohan Singh steps down without completing his term in the office there seems to be no chances of Rahul Gandhi succeeding him.

Moreover, the Congress heir apparent is still in the grooming stage and currently seems ill-prepared to lead a nation. However given the affection he enjoys with the masses of the country, it is only a matter of time before he becomes the Prime Minister.

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